What Would it Look Like?

At last night’s draft lottery (not a great television show but there was suspense–witness Bryan Murray’s facial expressions throughout the proceedings) Oilers General Manager was resolute when asked if he wanted to be back on the lottery show next year: "Absolutely not!" he told James Duthie. IF the Oilers are serious about staying away from the dungeon, what would this summer look like? 

Even from this far away I think we can agree on a few things about this summer. If the Oilers want to step into the elevator shaft that means a lottery pick they can spend the summer quietly. Draft another elite prospect, get some diamonds in the later picks and then wait for the entire group of youngsters to develop.

Steve Tambellini can’t just say "you know James, we’re going to spend the next few seasons getitng really good kids and then dominate for a decade" so we shouldn’t put too much weight on ST’s words last night. However, if the club is serious about getting better, we’ll know about it this summer.

  1. The draft: If the Oilers plan to reach for higher ground in 11-12, the draft will be about the #1 pick and getting quality with the LAK pick and their own selection at #31. Veterans like Hemsky, Gagner and Gilbert won’t be in play. The number one pick won’t be on the big league roster.
  2. The free agency period will have some nice acquisitions. Along with Ryan Jones, perhaps a Clarke MacArthur or Scottie Upshall will be under the tree. Signing an NHL calibre defensemen (say Denis Grebeshkov) would go a long way to making things right.
  3. Another Martin Gerber type signing–a quality goalie who can play in the NHL and do the job–is vital. The Oilers don’t have any AHL depth now with the free agency situation and Khabibulin’s fade is likely to continue. NK has a lot of miles on him and can see his 40th birthday on the horizon.
  4. A solid center who can help on the PK and in the faceoff dot. Someone like Boyd Gordon. I know Vande Velde showed well late in the season but this team is so poor when it comes to established veterans that signing Gordon and having him play those vital special teams minutes can go along way to improving the PK.

So, what would that look like? 

  • GOALER: Devan Dubnyk, Nikolai Khabibulin, real strength in the AHL
  • DEFENSE: Whitney-Petry, Peckham-Gilbert, Grebeshkov-Smid and Foster or Chorney
  • CENTER: Horcoff-Gagner-Cogliano-Gordon
  • LEFT WING: Hall-MacArthur-MPS–Hartikainen-Reddox
  • RIGHT WING: Hemsky-Eberle-Jones-Omark-enforcer (not my choice but Renney likes enforcers)

It isn’t perfect, but it’s better. And there’s a chance this team would be able to endure the annual injuries better and finish outside the lottery. We’ll know this summer.

  • O.C.

    LT: I agree with your assessment of needs (one capable D, a vet winger and a center that can win draws). I don’t like any of the names that you’ve thrown out but that’s just personal preference 😉

    I would be targetting Konopka or Fiddler; Upshall or Glencross; and Hejda or Ericsson.

    Likely the Oilers strike out as the UFA market is not likely to be kind to them, but even filling one of these positions would help.

    MacArthur is a RFA I believe, so I don’t see him signing anywhere. Trade maybe.

  • I’d like to see the Oilers try and sign Zenon Konopka. He was almost 60% on the dot, and is more than tough enough to protect the kids. He would be a great 4th line center.

    That being said, I don’t know how he is in the room (obviously) or if he’s any good on the PK, but having a guy that can consistently win faceoffs and drops the mitts when needed would be an excellent pickup.

  • The oil better sign some decent free agents because other than the no 1 pick the record shows pickings are slim.
    Thru 1999 to 08 the no 31 pick yielded ten players who played a whopping 301gms.There was only one player over 100gms and three who have never played a game in the NHL.
    Over the same period the number 19 pick had somewhat more success with 1789 gms played and three players with over 250 gms.Unfortunatly three players in this group never played a game.
    Better get to work Tambo because the draft alone isnt going to be your answer.

  • ubermiguel


    Think the Oilers draft and keep RNH in the dub so in theory he plays in the Memorial cup that Edmonton is co hosting giving fans a chance to adore him before he ever dawns the copper and blue. That with the WJHC.

  • Mantastic

    I see that Frasers name is not on your list. He is on mine. Starting in OKC. He has so underwhelmed me that I think that he either needs to be traded or sent packing to OKC. A push from Anton Lander in training camp might put a wrench into the fouth line. I don’t see the Oilers looking at Grebby again. Been there done that. Rather see Vandermeer again at a more reasonable number. I also see that Cogliano has earned a spot? Upgrade? draft day is going to see alot of moves for teams. The Cup will weed out the wannabes from the also rans and that will help determine who will be the buyers and sellers at the draft. By the way do you think Penner gets a mulligan because of Kopitars injury? 2 goals in 17 games?

  • I don’t know if the 1st Overall won’t make this club. Even if it’s skinny RNH. The guy is still the #1 pick. If he legitimately can’t make the club then that’s one thing, but you cant keep a guy out of a spot he earned for artificial reasons.

  • Chaz

    Lowetide, are you insinuating through their absence in the list at the end of the article that neither RNH or Larsson will be playing in the show next year should they be chosen? If so, is this a consensus amongst writers? I haven’t heard if these two are considered to be ready to make the jump to the NHL.

    • Ribs

      Yea, I think that’s the part where he said “The number one pick won’t be on the big league roster.

      I think it’s a pretty good plan to try not to suck next year even if it is inevitable. If they can stay out of the lottery next season and have this years pick join an improved team come two years* from now, the team will be looking good.

      *After next season